Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Carryin' the Banner

Children with open and hungry mouths wait in the breadline in 1992's Newsies.

I was once extremely obsessed with the movie Newsies. Some of you are imagining a little girl, excitedly bundled up in front of television and awaiting ABC’s annual showing of the movie. Her 4-10 year old heart beats nervously as she awaits the combination of her two favorite things: song and film. Maybe she has gone as far as to place a newsboy cap atop her halo of white blonde curls. Stop. I will now confess the reality of the situation. Yes, I did love musicals. I did dress up in costume. Cute, right? Not really as I was actually fifteen years old at the peak of my fandom.
Not pretty enough to have a boyfriend or wild enough to go out partying with the rest of my classmates, the summer after my freshman year consisted mainly of three settings: school, home, and my best friend’s house. In the morning, I would go to summer school because I had failed algebra the semester before. After class, as I was walking home, I would buy three large bread rolls and a Snapple green tea. Two of the rolls would be gone by the time I got to my house and the third would soon be slathered in mayo and honey mustard, then layered with turkey that I had found in the refrigerator. With my sandwich, I would drink my tea and do my homework, all the while talking across the table to my imaginary boyfriend. If that didn’t make me so depressed that all I wanted to do was read fan fiction on the internet or take a nap, I would bike over to my friend’s house. At her house, we would take a box of fudgesicles into her basement bedroom that smelled like mildew and spoiled food. Ice cream bar after ice cream bar, we would sit in the dark, watching movies. It was here that I was first introduced to the gripping and song driven story about turn-of-the-century newspaper sellers and their battle against Joseph Pulitzer (portrayed confusedly by Robert Duvall).
I don’t know why, but, for some reason, Newsies became an escape for me that summer. We chose our favorite characters, bought costumes and props accordingly, learned the songs, and even attempted the dances. All the while, I hid my love of Newsies with a shroud of irony. It probably did start off that way, but I soon found myself craving to hear Christian Bale’s weak New York accent and terrible singing voice wail, “So that’s what you cawl a fayyymly. Mudda, dauhta, fadda, son. Guess that everything you hoyd about is twu.” I did internet “where are they now” searches and watched the lesser cast members’ more recent movies. Did you know that Mush was in Mighty Ducks 2… AND 3! AND SISTER, SISTER! OMGEEE! Sadly for me, this also demonstrated how, unless you’re Christian Bale, you get less successful and, more importantly, less attractive as you get older.
I have moved on from those dark basement newsy days, but have carried quite a bit with me from that summer. For example, I carried the double chin and pasty skin, gained from my eating habits and lack of sun, with me through at least half of my sophomore year. That was fun. Till this very day, I will occasionally be watching TV and will recognize an extra, only to yell, a moment later, “Hey! That’s Crutchy from Newsies!” Sometimes, while riding my bike home, I will find myself humming ‘Seize the Day’ and yes, in spite of my better efforts, I still remember almost all of the words to each song. I am surprisingly willing to demonstrate this to anyone willing to ask. Another thing that remains the same today is that Bill Pullman still pretty much sucks.
Isn’t that whole scenario funny?! Yea? I guess you find teenage depression amusing. Way to be a dick.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Like in that Natalie Merchant song from the 90's, I want to thank you

One day late, here are my things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1. The close vicinity of my extended family. With everyone living in the same general area, it only costs a short car ride and Tupperware full of store bought stuffing to be miserable. Just think, some people have to purchase $500 plane tickets to be around their Mountain Dew drinking, Cool-Wip eating, farting, burping, bad parenting, and over-weight relatives. I only have to drive to the north side. This also leads to a quick escape, spending only two hours squeezed between my Packer-clad uncle and depressed teenage cousin, pretending to like their Velveeta cheese and frozen vegetable casserole.

2. The writer’s strike. Thanks to the TV executives, none of my favorite TV shows’ Thanksgiving specials were on. I really appreciated watching Rock of Love and I Love New York 2 in lieu of The Office. Really, what’s the adorable and sheepish Jim Halpert when compared with Poison’s gloriously botoxed and wigged Bret Michaels?

3. Not feeling guilty about doing nothing. You know what I did today? I curled up on the couch with my mother and watched an America’s Next Top Model marathon. Yes, I’m lazy. Yes, I choose hanging out with my mom over hanging out with my friends from high school who are home on break. And yes, I am aware that it’s reality shows like ANTM that are contributing to the writers’ low pay, but we all have are vices. Some people over-eat, others smoke cigarettes. Me? I watch ANTM, fully aware of what it’s doing to me. Suck it.

4. Numbers 1 and 3 have led to this one. My immediate family. Unlike my extended family, I actually like these people and would spend time with them even if we weren’t related. My mom is the most wonderful woman in the entire world. My dad is way too cool for me (sometimes I get jealous of how many friends he has). My stepfather is the funniest person that I have ever met, despite his Rupert Grint mouth. My brother is incredibly artistic and creative. I am always curious to learn what’s going on inside his head.

5. Bourbon: neat or on the rocks. Frankly, whiskey doesn’t always go down so easy, but, after a long Thursday like yesterday, nothing makes me feel more like a cowboy. That reminds me…

6. Cowboys. They have been captivating me since reading Lonesome Dove. They work hard. They play hard. They die hard. No matter what, they look fashionable in snazzy boots, bandanas, and hats.

7. Argyle and pencil skirts. Really, anything that makes me look like a college student from the 1960’s.

8. Fergus O’Shannahan. He is my German shepherd. He is better than your dog. Don’t feel bad. He’s better than everyone else’s dog as well. This is because he is actually a person trapped in a dog’s body and understands everything that you say. He also hates the Chicken Dance.

9. My few good friends. Despite the fact that I am becoming more and more like Dwight Schrute everyday, they still say that they like me. My friend Rachel even seeks my company and takes photos of me so that I can remember my magnificence as I slip further and further into dementia. My friend Caleb will never read this, but he is one of the best people on Earth. We were next-door neighbors and made lots of bands and had some sword fights. I blame him for my inability to live in the real world because the worlds that we made in the backyard were always far more interesting. Veronica, Ames, and Dustin are my other three friends. They even made me an honorary lesbian. A special mention to Elly, Tom, Emily, Judi, the Harvest crew, Bill Haverchuck, Bronson Pinchot, and anyone else that I might have missed.

10. The polio vaccine and Jonas Salk. Nobody wants polio. You can figure this one out for yourself unless you’re a total dummy.

These ones didn’t quite make the top 10:
-Fluffy snow
-Me in middle school (I was awesome)
-Various shoes
-The ocean and its terrifying wonders
-My house
-Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and the many things that her show holds)
…And many many more

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For My Male Classmates: An Open Letter

Dear young college guy,
I don’t know your name, but I assume that it’s something like Brendon, Chase, or Tyler. You know, some totally relaxed name that reflects who you are: a laid back guy that likes to have a fun time. You’re the beer pong champion of all your friends, your apartment has a sweet futon (is it a couch? A bed? What do you care! Let those ultra-uptight people worry about it! Right, bro?), and you have that awesome pot leaf flag that you bought at Spencer’s Gifts in the Ashland Mall hanging on your bedroom wall. Your kitchen contains one box of stale Lucky Charms (no moms to tell you what cereals to eat in college. HIGH FIVE!) and is decorated with every bottle of Southern Comfort or Malibu rum that you and your boys have drank since arriving here your freshman year. Of course there’s a hookah tucked away in the corner somewhere. You won’t smoke a normal cigarette because they’re bad for you, but pineapple flavored tobacco? That’s
cool and not at all gay, not when you’re just chillaxin’ with your friends or trying to impress that chick from your chem lab (strangely she was unimpressed by that Pink Floyd poster on your wall). Plus, you have that great Best of Bob Marley album. It sits nuzzled between your Dane Cook DVD and Journey CD (you’re so ironic). Nothing makes you feel better than jamming to Buffalo Soldier while polishing the numerous shot glasses you collected on your last spring break trip to Ft. Lauderdale (the one where you totally almost scored with those Kappa sluts. ‘Member?). Really, I’m taking the long way round to get to my point. We get your relaxed, REALLY. Even without your not-quite-hippy shaggy hair or unshaven whiskers, we STILL get it. Why then do you insist on wearing sandals on a 30-degree day such as this one?
Yes, I am one of those uptight intellectual bitch girls. No need to tell me. I have never done a keg stand, never blacked out drunk, and have never been date raped by you or any other Beta Alpha Omega Phi Chi whatever. Unlike the girls you hang out with, I wear real pants to class, I don’t mystic tan, and I don’t clump on ridiculous amounts of mascara. I don’t travel in packs and block the entire sidewalk. My daddy does not pay my rent, but I love him anyway. I’m impressed by real furniture and original artwork. I don’t pretend to like football.
Based on comparison, we probably shouldn’t hang out with each other. You’re white and I’m black. You’re Tyra and I’m Heidi. You eat at Chipotle and I eat at the Mexican food cart down the block. Usually, we avoid each other quite successfully. We go to different parties, study at different libraries, and live in different neighborhoods. Still, there are those moments of collision like when you step in front of my bicycle while crossing State Street without looking both ways or when you raise your hand in my anthropology discussion and ask, “Who wants to live on the North Pole anyway?” I don’t condone violence, but when you zoom past me on your moped, on a cold day such as this one, wearing cargo shorts, a UW t-shirt, baseball cap, and athletic sandals (aka shower shoes), I sort of want to push you off your moped. You don’t look more relaxed. You just look like a bigger douche-bag.
Keep quoting Dave Chappelle until he’s not funny anymore,
The Pop Quiz Kid

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Catholic girls stay pregnant

Sorry to promote a corporate chain here at Pop Quiz Kid, but this may just be the best ad ever. Go buy Gap. Just kidding, sort of.

Monday, November 12, 2007

George Michael is not a zombie

Early this morning, being kept awake by a pesky cold, I pondered many important life issues. Mainly, I began to think about what I would do if zombies cornered me on the roof of a high-rise apartment building. I concluded (because I do my best thinking in my just-woke-up fog) that I would kill as many of these zombies as I possibly could (it would be impossible to kill them all) and then jump off the roof in an elegant backwards swan dive. If I were lucky, the numerous bodies of the less fortunate would cushion my fall and I would survive, but come on! I would never survive that fall. I am a realist, after all.
All of this led me to these very important questions, questions that you should all ask yourselves:
1.) Where would I go to escape a zombie uprising? Answer: The sky. If I do not have an airplane, helicopter, or blimp, I will settle for a boat and the ocean.
2.) What would be my weapon of choice? Answer: Grenades. Or dynamite. Really anything that will make zombies explode in mass numbers.
3.) Who would I want on my team? Answer: The high schoolers from Red Dawn. If they can fight the great threat of communism, they can handle the undead. I might also throw the fat guy from Varsity Blues in the mix for comic relief.

On a completely different note, my friend and I were talking today about how excited we are for this movie:

I will be there faster than you can say “George Michael in a tracksuit and sweatband.”

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday Night TV and Puppies

The other day, I was feeling particularly down. I had a pile of homework, my throat was sore, and Blane didn't ask me to the prom. Rather than wallow in my own sorrow, I decide to buck up. How did I do this? I google-image searched the word "puppies" and soon I was having the time of my life. It really was that easy.
Already in a good mood from the hundreds of puppies that I had been perusing, I realized that it was almost Thursday night. For those of you who are unaware, Thursday is the ultimate night in television. Sure, Mondays are good with Weeds and Californication (now in hiatus), Wednesdays are about to get better with the leggy Heidi Klum and her team of designers strutting back into the line-up (almost more exciting than the competition itself is seeing whether or not Michael Kors has finally achieved the perfect orange Technicolor skin tone that he's been striving to capture for the past three seasons) with Project Runway, but Thursdays still win for only two reasons. First, and slightly less important, is 30 Rock. This show has achieved greatness for one main reason: Tracy Morgan, surprisingly, can be funny with the right writers behind him! Other reasons this show is great are Tina Fey, Kenneth the Page, and the reoccurrence of Rachel Dratch (particularly as an Eastern European hooker). Second, and the main draw of TV Thursdays, is The Office. When season 4 began, I'll admit it was a little worrying. The hour-long episodes, while still better than most things that are on TV, were falling slightly short. Cutting it back to a half an hour has put the show back on track and back into my heart. I'll admit that I have a rather unhealthy investment in Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski), despite the fact that Jim should probably be with me. The writers play with my investment, however, and fill me with the discomfort that made me love the show in the first place.
The fact that I love these two shows only means one thing: They will be cancelled. Here is a list of other beloved shows that have ripped out of my life and thrown into the TV on DVD graveyard.
Arrested Development
Freaks and Geeks
The Office (UK) (It committed suicide)
Deadwood (suicide)
There are more, but this post is making me too depressed. I'm going to look at some more puppies.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Audrey Tautou, I'm Coming for You

Moving into a new house, I’ve been given the opportunity to decorate a new bedroom. Few things can keep me up into the night, but decorating and rearranging does the trick. At first, I grew frustrated with myself. Early wake-up calls rendered dark circles under my eyes (which were filled with crusties, too, coincidently), blotchy red skin, and bed head. Other chores and studying were being left by the wayside. One night, as I was arranging old photo prints on my wall, I shouted to myself, “GO TO BED!” (I really did say this out loud) At such a scolding, my other half (I generally view myself as two people. One of me is rational. The other me is not) jumped to its defense. ‘Very rarely do I find anything that makes me excited or motivated, so why can’t I indulge this rare creativity by working into the early hours of the morning?’ it thought. And so I did. I moved furniture, made collages, hung artwork, and screwed in coat hooks. All of this came with a sacrifice (my sanity, obviously), but I now love my room so much that I can hardly bare leaving it.
The idea I had in mind while designing my room is that I wanted it to look like a Parisian apartment and it absolutely does. Sometimes I even slip on my best vintage dress, a beret, and spectator shoes and stare forlornly out the window at the patrons on the patio at the coffee shop across the street, all the while French accordion music plays weakly from my itunes. As a French girl, I work at a coffee bar and am surrounded by kooky characters all day. The same goes for my apartment building, where I secretly do good deeds to make my fellow Frenchmen a little bit happier. From my window, I can peer down on the lively streets of Montmarte, the curling Sacre Coeur in the distance. And me? I am quirky and adorable. I find pleasure in small things like the cracking of an ice cube as you drop it into water. Always alone, I yearn for a kindred spirit, another person as adorably quirky as me. No one answers my call until one day when I find a photo album filled with photo booth pictures of strangers…
Perhaps this sounds familiar. Maybe it reminds you of another dark-haired French gamine who resides in Montmarte and works at a small restaurant delivering café au lait. Yes, there are some slight resemblances between Amélie Poulain and I, I’ll admit. There are a few main differences, however. Mainly, if it came down to it, I would win in a fight. I have at least 20 pounds and a few inches on her. Worse case scenario, I just sit on her. Here are the other differences.
1. My character in my French fantasy is also a skilled cabaret performer. She sings and dances her way through people’s hearts.
2. My character is also closely linked with organized crime. It is a life that she has tried to escape, but is constantly pulled back in by family obligation. She carries a gun at all times.
3. I was never in The DaVinci Code and have never touched Tom Hanks when he had that weird hair. To be completely honest, I have never touched Tom Hanks at all.

This whole French fantasy generally ends when I leave my room, only to be replaced by others. For example, when I go for a run, I often pretend that most of the human population has been infected by a rage virus (caused when some animal rights activists unwittingly freed an infected chimp) and I have to run away to save my own life. In the chase, I fall in with a group of British military men, only to realize that mankind is the real enemy. The differences between this scenario and the film 28 Days Later are, odd enough, the same as the differences between Amélie and my French scenario (see 1-3, above).

Le Pop Quiz Kid

Welcome Wagon

Hello and welcome, new and loyal blog readers (a.k.a Mom and Dad),

Before you grow attached, I really should offer up a warning. This blog will more than likely change your life. I know, I know. It’s hard to imagine that some silly entries written by a twenty-year-old woman could do that, but it will. Are you happy as a straight woman? Turn away now because a couple paragraphs in and you’ll be switching teams. Are you a boy who loves your girlfriend? You won’t after reading this and experiencing the sheer awesomeness that a lady like me possesses. Right?! I didn’t think that someone like me was possible either! Still not deferred? Well, keep reading and prepare to have your mind blown.

The Pop Quiz Kid